Latest posts by Italophile


Posted: 27/08/2013 at 10:59

Colin, I was able to buy it in domestic quantities when I was in Sydney 10 years ago. It's sold in small cartons of sachets of powder. The good Sydney garden centres had it. Try asking at your nearest good garden centre. It's the active ingredient Bacillus thuringiensis that you need to specify.

You might also try the garden supplies section of Amazon.

Thuricide is another brand name.



Posted: 27/08/2013 at 06:13

Very kind, both of you. I think your first decent summer for a few years might have had a bit more to do with it.


Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:29

Sounds like a lack of pollination.

You can hand pollinate to overcome the problem. Here are the male and female flowers. Probably not of your variety but they're basically the same across the board.

Male on the left. Female on the right on the end of what looks like miniature fruit. It's actually an ovary that, when pollinated, will grow into a fruit.


Both flowers open in the morning and will often close again during the day. Once closed, they don't open again. The female flowers have to be pollinated while open so it can mean getting up early.

Remove a male flower from the vine, stem and all. Carefully remove the yellow petals to expose the stamen inside. It will be coated in pollen.

This is roughly what the female flower will look like inside. That's the stigma in the centre:


Brush the stamen against the stigma to transfer the pollen. Don't be too vigorous. Damage the stigma and odds are you won't get fruit.

It's a pretty simple process and good fun!



Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:12

Never had a wasp problem, Mikew.

All you can probably do is net them with something fine enough to keep the beggars out.

moving fruit trees

Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:09

When they're dormant is best, Eric. Late winter, early spring, or when the soil is diggable.


Posted: 26/08/2013 at 13:05

It needs to be a naturally large variety - eg, Atlantic Giant - in order to produce a huge pumpkin by restricting the number of pumpkins on the vine. Otherwise, removing pumpkins from the vine only reduces your crop.

Pumpkins that don't develop in size and drop off are the result of the female flowers not being pollinated, either properly or at all.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 17:07

You could easily take out those overgrown suckers without any problems, Briggsy.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 15:48

David, a couple of things. If they're in a greenhouse, you probably need to give them a hand with pollination. Toms are self-pollinating but the pollination process is helped along outdoors by insects and even the breeze. Any movement of the flowers can help trigger the internal mechanics that bring about pollination. Indoors, you can help out by giving the flowers a gentle flick with your fingers.

I think you're also overfeeding them. Toms aren't big feeders and will produce better if left more to their own devices. Toms exist to reproduce themselves - by producing fruit - and they're more likely to feel the need to reproduce if they feel a bit threatened. Cut back on the watering and stop feeding them. See what happens.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 14:12

DJ, it's my dear departed and much missed Old English Sheepdog, Dermott, eating. Here it is in full size:

He'd just had a haircut. Apart from his head.


Posted: 25/08/2013 at 09:45

Keeping the bed weed-free is the key I've found. Weeds compete with the roots for nutrition. I also give the older plants a good feed of balanced fertiliser in spring and again in late autumn with a decent top dressing of compost after I've cut back the ferns.

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